Good Thing I Have a Day Job

jars of utensils

In addition to offering cooking workshops—this Saturday’s has sold out!—I’ve come up with some new business endeavors. You will understand the title of this post as you read about them.

Community Cutlery Collection

I stumbled across an article from the CBC about Philippa von Zeigenweidt, a woman who started a cutlery collection that she lends out in her community of Windsor, Ontario, with the aim of reducing the use of wasteful plastic utensils.

Ms. von Zeigenweidt’s collection has grown large enough to serve nearly 100 people and the utensils have traveled in and around Windsor many times to various events. People pay nothing to borrow the cutlery but must return everything washed.

This sounds like a small thing but I found the story so inspiring (as did followers on my Facebook page—people loved this idea). I thought to myself, “I can do this! I give cooking workshops and talks in my community. I’ll lend out my own fledgling cutlery collection!” Currently I have forks and spoons only—enough for 20 people—but I will start to grow this collection, beginning with knives.

I live in Mountain View, California, close to Palo Alto and Stanford. If you would like to borrow the collection or donate any flatware, please contact me here. I don’t require a deposit but please wash everything before you return it.

jars of utensils
I hope you don’t like matchy-matchy

Sourdough Starter Hotel

A couple of years ago, some of you may have come across this story from NPR about a sourdough starter hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. For $3 a day, harried, traveling sourdough starter parents can drop off their starters at a bakery in the airport, where staff will feed and care for their “pets.”

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, with its exorbitant real estate prices. Even a tent in someone’s backyard will cost you $899/month (God help us all). So counter space at my hotel—Chez Bonneau—will run you $6 a night.

Worried about your starter while you’re away? I can hook up a live cam so you can check in.

Okay, maybe not.

I’m just kidding about this service—unless someone takes me up on it. Please note that abandoned starters will be baked into crackers and eaten.

ZWC Is Not Only Waste-Free, It’s Ad-Free Too

I recently removed the handful of affiliate links I had on my site. I think affiliate links go against what I shudder to call “my brand.” But I don’t judge other bloggers who post affiliate links or ads! Blogging requires a ton of work, people need to pay the mortgage—or their backyard tent rent—and many other bloggers I love post affiliate links and ads and I still love them. But I don’t quite feel comfortable posting them here. If I wrote about anything else—sewing, painting or the slime craze my daughter keeps telling me about—you would see affiliate links and ads all over the place. But how can I peddle stuff on a blog that opposes consumerism?

I also don’t write sponsored content. I have time to blog only once a week and don’t want to waste that weekly post on promoting stuff for companies. People constantly ask me to review products as well and I have written a few posts like that in the past but don’t have time for that either, no matter how much I love the product.

Let’s hope that sourdough hotel fills up 😉

Actually, the workshops have been filling up! I LOVE teaching these and plan on adding more to my schedule this year.

20 Replies to “Good Thing I Have a Day Job”

  1. What a fun post! I especially liked the bit about abandoned starters will be baked into crackers and eaten……lol…lol…!!!!!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you! I’m glad I made you laugh 🙂

  2. You are so inspiring! I love all of your ideas, you come up with solutions to many of the same questions I have. Thanks for sharing! (I also wished I didn’t live on the East Coast so I could take a class!)

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Liz! Thanks for reading and for the kind words. I wish you could take a class too 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  3. A teacher at my school has a cutlery set she shares with other teachers so that we avoid all the plastic for parties – but no proper sized plates or cups. A few years ago, a parent donated Ikea kid plates and utensils, however the size is not ideal so we don’t use it too often. It’s hard to get it just right, so guidance would be welcome! I just signed up for your March class!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Liqa, I love that! A couple of people on social media today have told me that they are going to do this at their workplace also. I would like to start collecting plates after I get the utensils going. To get the right size, you could post something on Nextdoor asking for them (or Freecycle). If you get any takers, you could check them out and if they’re the right size, snag them. Thrift shops are good too. My bf bought me a pile of Fiestaware at Savers in Redwood City last year. For the price of one place setting, he bought me the equivalent of about five! And they match the Fiestaware I already have. Thanks so much for signing up for my class! I look forward to meeting you in person 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  4. I’m glad you have your day job too. Keep it! (Not because you aren’t great at this…but because I love what you do at your day job!)

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      How could I leave my day job with such a wonderful boss who saves her compost for me—in a glass jar no less!

  5. I would happily donate to this site annually in exchange for keeping it ad-free! I’ve been working towards zero-waste since 2013, and have found this website to be such an awesome resource since stumbling across it a couple months ago. Thank you for helping the zero-waste movement grow!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Melanie. I really appreciate that and I’ll keep that in mind. I’m glad you find the site helpful. 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

      1. Ditto that – like Melanie, I’d gladly send a donation. Loads of bloggers have “donate” buttons or Patreon platforms, precisely because ads are annoying, and because sometimes people are just happy and able to pay for the content we want. I currently have two Patreon writers (one does more Vlogs plus a book club), and I consider it cheap at $20/month. Maria Popova writes an amazing blog, “Brain Pickings” full-time on donations only, both recurring and one-time amounts. I’m sure you know all this but maybe if I am noisy you’ll consider it…

      2. The Zero-Waste Chef says:

        Thank you Beatrix. Maybe I will look into the Patreon thing. I’ve added it to my to-do list. Thanks for the nudge and have a nice weekend 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  6. Love it! Thanks for making the effort 🙂

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you!

  7. I’m from Portugal so I won’t be able to attend your workshops but I would love to contribute to your tip jar if you ever decide to create one! I am a big fan of your content 🙂

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Catherine 🙂 I will keep that in mind. ~ Anne Marie

  8. We do utensils at work, too. Occasionally the spoons wander off so we bring more from the goodwill. We have a collection of mugs and a coffee pot (no Keurig!) and we are all serious coffee drinkers… can’t imagine how many cups we have saved.
    Thanks so much for your blog. We are getting serious about going plastic free this year and I am finding it very inspiring. We consider ourselves to be very environmentally conscious but the amount of plastic in the kitchen is really disheartening.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kate, If your office cares about this, it must be a good place to work. Thanks for the kind words about my blog. All that plastic is disheartening. When we wanted to go plastic-free, I had no idea how to start and I felt so overwhelmed. It’s everywhere! Little by little we cut the stuff out. Good luck with your quest 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  9. “but how can I peddle stuff on a blog that opposes consumerism?”

    I feel the same way!!! thanks for your honesty, it’s very refreshing.


    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you!

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